Ispahan, now known as Esfahan, was the capital of the kingdom of Persia. Ispahan lay on the caravan route between Central Asia and the Persian Gulf. The VOC's trade in Persia depended on its political relations with the shah, who held court here. The VOC bought silk from the shah in exchange for spices and military protection. The VOC were based here from 1623 to 1746, although after 1741 manufacturing activities were very low key. In trade Isfahan barely had a role to play after 1670. The trading station served principally as a means of maintaining relations with the royal court. The VOC was obliged to maintain its office in Ispahan due to the endless negotiations with the shah about trading concessions. The shah gave the VOC the use of this splendid house with adjoining gardens for as long as the Company continued to trade in Persia. In 1722 Ispahan was conquered by the Afghans. Trading came to a halt and in 1747 the VOC base was closed. The head office of the VOC's Persian directorate was located in Esfahan from 1623 to 1638.